Mitsubishi Outsold These Three BIG Brands in 2018
We are dead serious right now. Mitsubishi actually managed to outsell the three brands mentioned in the U.S. Maybe it is some kind of sorcery or Mitsubishi has sprayed some sort of invisible ink, we don’t know, but the Japanese giant has managed to move 118,074 cars in 2018 - all of it without socializing at auto-show gatherings or sponsoring many events.
What Will Happen to Mitsubishi Now That the Man Behind VW and Alfa Romeo Design Is On the Team?
Mitsubishi has been struggling as of late, first killing off the beloved Evo, then replacing it with a line of less-than exciting models that left us with a very profound sense of “meh.” However, recent reports indicate a substantial increase in sales over the first half of 2018, and now the company is taking on a new executive design director. Does this herald the dawn of a new day at the beleaguered automaker?
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Don’t Look Now, But Mitsubishi’s Got Its Own Personalization Division
Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, and Mitsubishi. These automakers and a whole bunch of others have something in common that extend beyond building products with four wheels on them. These companies have their own personalization departments. In the case of Mitsubishi, its back-room variety division is called the Special Vehicle Projects (SVP). It’s responsible for a number of custom Mitsubishis, including its newest creation, the Barbarian SVP II. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know Mitsubishi had a personalization division. Most of us were none the wiser.
Mitsubishi Has all But Comfirmed that it Will Slander the EVO Name by Plastering it on an SUV
You might want to sit down for this, especially if you’re a card-carrying member of the Mitsubishi Evolution fan club. A high-ranking Mitsubishi executive really spoke out on the possibility of bringing the iconic nameplate back in the future. He didn’t exactly specify how the Japanese automaker plans to do it, but if it did, there’s a possibility that it wouldn’t return in the state that earned it a place in the annals of automotive history as one of the most iconic rally-bred, performance cars in the world. Instead — this is the part where you really have to sit down — the Evo name could return and be used on an SUV. Gulp.
Mitsubishi is Finally Doing Something Right and is Growing Fast
It’s been a while since we last talked about Mitsubishi in glowing terms, but the facts can’t be denied. The popularity of the once-beleaguered Japanese automaker is trending up in the US on the shoulders of a crossover and SUV lineup that’s hitting record sales growth.
Spearheading this growth are the Outlander and Outlander Sport, two models that posted impressive sales growths in 2017. Sales of the Outlander reached 35,310 units in the year-that-was, resulting in a sales growth of 32.9 percent from the previous year. Likewise, the Outlander Sport also saw a huge bump in sales, ending the year with 33,160 units sold. That figure was aided by a massive sales period in December, in which sales volume for the SUV increased by 47.1 percent compared to its figures in the last month of 2016. The success of both models spurred Mitsubishi’s crossover and SUV sales to shoot up by 15 percent compared to 2016. That’s impressive on its own, and even more so considering that it outpaced the popular segment by a wide margin.
Moving forward, Mitsubishi is set to release two new models to complement the two Outlander models. One of these models is the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), which takes elements from the Outlander and combines it with hybrid and electric capabilities. That model’s already out on the market. The other model is the all-new Eclipse Cross, a compact SUV that will be positioned between the Outlander Sport and the Outlander once it makes its debut in March. These two new models make up a part of Mitsubishi’s ambitious expansion plan that will have 11 new models, including six all-new models, hit dealerships in the course of the next three years.
In addition to the model expansion, the Japanese automaker will also expand its dealership network in the US, invest heavily in research and development, and leverage its recent inclusion in the Renault-Nissan Alliance to become a player in the growing segment of future mobility. In other words, don’t write Mitsubishi’s obituary just yet. The Japanese automaker appears to still be alive and kicking.
Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi All Want a Piece of the Robo-Taxi Business
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance has big plans for its future, and among those plans include hopping aboard the fledgling robo-taxi business. The auto conglomerate has announced plans to pursue shared driverless vehicles, and it’s already in the market for potential tech partners that can come in and help in its development. The alliance has yet to unveil its future partners in the field, but an announcement is expected to come in the near future, signaling the start of a push to become a bigger player in the world of autonomous driving.
Make it or Break It: Mitsubishi Positions Itself for a Comeback
“Drive for Growth.” It’s Mitsubishi latest plan to effectively turn the company around following its fuel economy scandal of yesteryear. The basic concept is to increase sales by 30 percent while at the same time increasing profit margin by six percent and research and development spending by ¥600 billion. This would, according to Mitsubishi push annual sales up to 1.3 mill units and revenue as high as ¥2.5 trillion. And, it plans to do so by strategic market expansion and by improving overall operating efficiency. For starters, Mitsubishi will work on improving U.S. dealerships while increasing the number of dealers in China by 110,000 to 220,000 total.
The big news here is that Mitsubishi is announcing that it will launch 11 new models over the next three years, with six of them being completely new models. The remaining five will be major updates to current vehicles on the market. By the end of 2020, Mitsubishi expects 70 of its sales volume to come from its SUVs, 4WD vehicles, and plug-in hybrid vehicles. There’s also word that there will be electrified solutions across the “core model range” which includes an EV kei car in the year 2020. So, in other words, Mitsubishi is going to spend a ton of money on R&D, even more money building and optimizing dealerships, and somehow manage to grow its bottom line. It sounds really good on paper, but will it actually work? Well, I have a few thoughts on that, so keep reading to find out.
Death Warrant Signed: Mitsubishi Lancer to be Executed Fall of 2017
The introduction of television all but killed the radio star and the second wind that is the SUV craze is killing off some iconic cars that we’re really going to miss. It wasn’t that long ago that Mitsubishi decided to quit the rally business, and shortly thereafter (in the grand scheme of things,) the band put an end to the EVO program for the rally icon that is the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO. Since Mitsubishi gave up its love for Rally, we had a feeling that the base Lancer would eventually meet its demise, and boy were we right. Speaking to Autoblog, Don Swearingen – the Executive VP and COO of Mitsubishi North America – said that the Mirage G4 will continue on, but production of the Mitsubishi Lancer will officially end in August of 2017. That means that after 40+ years of production and 10 generations (according to Mitsubishi) there will be no successor and an untimely death.
Of course, the Lancer itself wasn’t exactly competitive, but the Subaru WRX STI and the Lancer EVO definitely went nose to nose on many occasions. In the end, Mitsubishi sees fit to focus on the crossover and SUV market instead of doing anything with its smaller cars. And, that was never more evident than with the Lancer, which has been in its current generation for a decade. It did get a facelift in 2016, but it was one of the laziest facelifts ever and continued on seriously underpowered compared to its main competitor the Subaru WRX. Furthermore, it didn’t stand a chance against other rally-ready models like the Ford Focus ST, for example.
Of course, the standard Lancer didn’t get the Rally love that the EVO saw, but it was the basis of the EVO and its stellar performance in the WRC. But, all that is over now. And, as much as we would love to see the Lancer makes its way back into WRC, the execution of the EVO and now the base Lancer brings us to the cold, hard reality that it’s never going to happen.
Nissan Acquires Controlling Stake in Mitsubishi; Names Carlos Ghosn as Chairman
After struggling through years of lackluster sales and countless setbacks, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) just announced that Nissan has plunked down 237 billion yen (or $2.28 billion at current exchange rates, 10/20/16) to purchase 34 percent of its stock, handing Nissan a controlling stake in MMC. The deal will allow both companies to synergize across multiple departments and significantly reduce annual costs, while also promoting the sharing of vehicle platforms and new technology.
The deal is also expected to bring Mitsubishi some much-needed resources as it scrambles to address revelations that the automaker cheated on fuel economy data.
The acquisition was first announced back in May, following Mitsubishi’s fuel economy scandal story that broke in April. The deal was finalized only recently.
Taking the position of chairman-elect is Carlos Ghosn, the current CEO at Renault and Nissan, a role that should suit him well considering his experience with the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
Mitsubishi’s CEO and President, Osamu Masuko, will stay on board at his current position, despite some calling for his resignation in the wake of Mitsubishi’s mileage scandal.
“As part of our Board and management team, Nissan will help us rebuild customer trust in our company and maximize potential future synergies through our deeper alliance,” Masuko said in a press release.
Ghosn justified Masuko staying on in a joint briefing, stating, “This sends a strong message that it’s not Nissan that’s going to transform Mitsubishi, it’s Mitsubishi that’s going to transform Mitsubishi.”
Mitsubishi’s press release on the deal states, “Nissan and MMC will begin cooperating on a wide-ranging synergy program, building on a five-year alliance in minicars between the two companies.”
Synergies identified include purchasing cost-reduction, joint plant utilization, shared vehicle platforms, and technology sharing, which should encompass both autonomous driving and hybrid powertrains.
Joint cost reductions are estimated to save Mitsubishi around 25 billion yen annually, with Nissan saving roughly 24 billion yen in 2017.
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Mitsubishi to Become Part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Rumors of Mitsubishi being absorbed into the Renault-Nissan Alliance have been swirling around for a quite a few months, but a deal could could be struck by the end of 2016. That’s the word from Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who said that a "massive" business plan will be announced as soon as the group acquires a 34-percent ownership of the Japanese automaker.
The announcement was made at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, where Ghosn also said he is confident that legal and government authorities will approve the $2.2 billion transaction. According to him, the Renault-Nissan Alliance is already working on a thorough business plan that will be unveiled by the end of the year.
“This is not a deal where we say, ‘OK, we made the deal, now let’s think what we can do together,” he told reporters. “No. The day we announce the deal, we’re going to tell you exactly what we’re going to do together. And it’s massive. It’s massive between Mitsubishi and Nissan. And also, it may be very significant between Renault and Mitsubishi.”
The new Alliance will also impact how Nissan and Mitsubishi work in the U.S., but Ghosn didn’t reveal specific details. "We will have to dig more in the U.S.,” he said. “But when you talk about purchasing, engineering, platforms, engines, plug-in hybrids — it’s massive."
The Renault-Nissan Alliance was founded in 1999 and it has since linked the two companies in vehicle development and management, bringing significant savings through platform and drivetrain sharing, among another shared strategies. It’s not yet clear how Mitsubishi will function in this equation, but the Japanese company already has a cooperation agreement with Nissan in markets such as Japan and India.
Nissan, Mitsubishi Agree On Strategic Partnership
Nissan and Mitsubishi, two of the stalwarts of the Japanese automotive scene, have agreed to an industry-shaking partnership that will make Nissan the largest shareholder of Mitsubishi Motor Corp. (MMC). The two parties have signed a Basic Agreement, forming a long-term strategic alliance that extends an already existing partnership that has existed for the past five years.
The scope of the partnership between Nissan and Mitsubishi is far-reaching, especially for the latter, which is still recovering from its admission that it manipulated data to inflate mileage results for some of its cars. As part of the partnerhips, Nissan will receive a 34-percent equity stake in MMC pending an MMC share issue. That’s the equivalent of 506.6 million newly issued MMC shares priced at 468.52 yen per share. All told, the equity stake is valued at 237 billion yen, or about $2.2 billion based on current exchange rates. In addition, MMC will propose nominees from Nissan to join the company’s board of directors in proportion to the latter’s voting rights, including a Nissan nominee to become the Chairman of the Board of MMC.
Outside the boardroom, the alliance between Nissan and Mitsubishi will include cooperations in a number of industry-related fields, including vehicle development,
sharing, and joint plant utilization, among other things. Nissan, in particular, will be sending engineers to Mitsubishi’s vehicle-development team to help sort out the mess the department has created in the publishing of erroneous fuel-economy data that has led to Mitsubishi receiving a
sized black eye in the industry.
The transaction has yet to be finalized pending the signing of a definitive Alliance Agreement, the signing of a shareholders agreement with incumbent Mitsubishi Group shareholders, and regulatory approvals. All transactions are expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
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Mitsubishi’s production facility in Normal, Illinois officially closed on Monday, November 30, 2015, even as the search for a potential buyer remains open. The closure comes a little over four months after Mitsubishi made the announcement, saying back in July 2015 that it would sell its only assembly plant in the U.S. While it didn’t come as a shock to the 1,200 employees that were laid off work, Monday’s closure also put a lid on relationships built in the last 27 years.
The closure of the facility in Illinois is likely part of a bigger rebranding effort by the company as it tries to focus its full attention in other markets, specifically its home continent in Asia. As was previously mentioned, Mitsubishi already has a full-scale facility in Thailand. More recently, it purchased another factory, this time in the Philippines from Ford. The decision to end production in the U.S. also doesn’t mean that Mitsubishi is going to stop selling cars in the market. The Japanese automaker made that clear when it said that “both current and upcoming” Mitsubishi models will continue to be sold in the U.S. and North America. That’s good news for the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, currently the company’s best-selling model in the U.S.
As for the laid off employees, numerous efforts are currently being undertaken to get these people back on their feet. Mitsubishi has already promised severance packages for the employees while the McLean County Chamber of Commerce in Normal is scheduled to hold a job fair in December 2015.
It was a bittersweet day for all parties involved in the closure of Mitsubishi’s production facility in Normal, Illinois. But, as the company deemed it necessary, it was a decision that had to be made. With the plant now closed, the search for a buyer continues, one that Mitsubishi hopes will continue to operate the assembly plant and maintain employment for the local community.
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Mitsubishi will stop building cars in the U.S. and sell its only American assembly plant, the company said in a statement.
"Following a review of Mitsubishi Motor Corporation’s global supply chain, we have been informed it is necessary to end production and seek a strategic buyer for the Normal plant," the Japanese carmaker said Friday. "MMC’s Board will make a formal decision in the near future and our focus right now is to identify a buyer who would continue to operate and maintain employment—the best potential outcome for our employees and the community."
Mitsubishi said it will continue to sell its cars in the U.S., including both current and upcoming models. "The North American market remains a priority for Mitsubishi Motors," the statement added.
As for its manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois, which is also the only foreign-owned factory in the U.S., Mitsubishi will look for a buyer after its union contract expires in August 2015. Opened in 1988 as a joint venture with its then-partner Chrysler, the plant built around 70,000 2014-2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport models last year, about half its capacity. Its highest output was recorded in the early 2000s at more than 200,000 cars a year. The Illinois plant now has 1,250 employees.
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It is far from a secret that the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X is dead. The legendary rally machine is just barely hanging onto life as Mitsubishi positions itself as a crafter of hybrid and electric vehicles. Despite the Evo X’s death, the world always assumed that an Evo XI would appear at some point in the future. Sadly, it seems that is not the case. Autocar snagged some interview time with Mitsubishi’s product manager, Kanenori Okamoto, and he confirmed that there are no plans to revive the Evo. Rather, if we get anything it will be a high-performance SUV. “It will not exist as we know it,” Okamoto said. “It will be replaced in spirit by an SUV with high performance.”
This sounds like a crushing blow to fans of the brand, but it seems that there may be some method to Mitsubishi’s madness. While there has been no decision on what platform the new car could be based on, it will use some technology and knowledge that Mitsu gained form MiEV Evolution Pikes Peak racer. It will also use the latest version of the Evo’s S-AWC AWD system.
With all that tech underneath it, the new super-SUV could be quite an entertaining drive. I can almost see it lining up against a machine like the Bowler Wildcat. To be honest, Mitsubishi hasn’t been very relevant in the rally circuit for more than a decade, but maybe this new machine can see them tackle races like Baja and Dakar. That would by quite an impressive feat.
Keep it locked here to get more details on whatever crazy scheme Mitsubishi may be hatching. We will be sure to drop the news as soon as we get it.
With a definitive 22-year run and a recent termination of production, any news on the Mitsubishi Eclipse should be far and few between, or should it? At a recent media preview of the i electric car, Greg Adams, Mitsubishi Motors North America’s Vice President-Marketing and Product Planning was quoted saying that the Eclipse "always comes back around sooner or later."
Just when we were closing the book on the Japanese automaker’s mid-size sports car, all of a sudden there’s another chapter. According to Mitsubishi, the Eclipse was "the most-successful U.S.-market sports car from a Japanese auto maker in the past 20 years." It sold 982,024 units in the U.S. since the car’s 1989 launch and saw a 105.4% increase in sales through August 2011 compared to 2010. So why was it axed? As with any other automaker, Mitsubishi’s focus has switched to fuel efficiency, leading them to market their new i-MiEV extensively, so the extra work in trying to get the Eclipse to the next level was probably not worth it at the time. The Galant sedan will also be seeing its dreadful end by 2013, as will the Endeavor SUV. These deletions will leave Mitsubishi with three models in their lineup, and some room to grow when they’re ready.
Adams said that a future midsize sedan from Mitsubishi wasn’t off the table as long as the numbers worked out, so the Galant may still have its fair chance to come back. Our vote, though, is for the Eclipse.
A few weeks ago, in a discussion with Mitsubishi global product director Gayu Eusegi, Autocar reported him saying that the current Lancer Evolution X would be the last of the Evos, thus allowing Mitsubishi to concentrate on building EVs and other fuel-efficient vehicles. However, after much backlash from enthusiasts in the form of numerous Facebook groups and petitions, Mitsubishi President and CEO Osamu Masuko has announced that the Evo X would not, in fact, be the last of the Evolutions.
“Production of the current Lancer Evolution X continues as planned,” he told Autocar, “As for its successor, regulations and market feedback will dictate its engineering package and architecture.” There’s nothing new there as it was previously stated that the current Evo X was supposed to stick around at least another year, until 2012.
However, Masuko continued on to say, “As the market’s needs and demands change, Mitsubishi is considering not advancing the Lancer Evolution concept in the same way as before, but to find a different direction for the Lancer Evolution model to evolve.”
What does that mean exactly?
The rumor has long been that the Evo XI would be a diesel-electric hybrid. Such a powertrain would allow the Evo XI to hustle to 0-60 MPH in under 5 seconds while still receiving better fuel economy than the current Evo. At this stage, anything can happen. Masuko concluded the interview by saying, "The new direction, the technologies involved, and corresponding products will be disclosed in due course."
Mitsubishi in Australia has announced some updates for the 2011 Lancer, including the addition of a new SX model. This model will slide between the ES and the VR. There have been other changes to the overall lineup as well.
The car will get improved sound insulation, a USB port, color LCD display and welcome lights have been fitted on every model. If you opt for the VR, VRX, or Ralliart it will now come with Bluetooth.
The new SX model will come with a standard leather steering wheel with audio controls, a rear spoiler, and 16-inch wheels. The SX, ES, and VR will get the 2.0-liter MIVEC engine that will put out 152 horsepower and 198 Nm of torque.
The VRX and the Aspire sedan will get a 2.4-liter motor with 168 horsepower and the Ralliart will feature the Evolution’s inter-cooled and turbocharged 2.0-liter MIVEC motor with 237 horsepower.
Available color choices across the range include Champagne, Cool Silver, Mystic Blue, Lightning Blue, Effect Grey, Red, Black, and White in the ES, VR, and VRX models, with the Aspire available in Champagne, White, Red, Cool silver, Effect Grey, and Black. The Lancer Ralliart models are available in Red, Black, Cool Silver, White, and Lightning Blue.
The SX, ES, VR, VRX, and Ralliart models can come in either sedan or Sportback variants, with the Aspire only being offered in a sedan.
It wasn’t that long ago when Mitsubishi was a household name among American auto buyers. Unfortunately, the company’s stature and sales figures have both torpedoed to the point that rumors of the company leaving the US market aren’t being treated as ridiculous blasphemy anymore, but more as an increasing possibility.
Gone were the days when the Japanese brand could sell 200,000 vehicles a year without even trying. Back in 2002, they sold 354,111 of their vehicles, but today, the company’s trying hard to even push 50,000 sold models.
So with the way Mitsubishi is going these days, pulling out of the US market isn’t as crazy as it once was. That is, until you talk to Osamu Masuko, the president and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. When asked if the company is ready to leave the US market behind, Masuko flatly responds: “It never enters my mind.”
On the contrary, according to Masuko, Mitsubishi is aggressively planning on quadrupling its sales volume by 400% to 200,000 vehicles. Of course, that part is easier said than done, but the company is confident that by coming out with new products like smaller and more fuel efficient cars, as well as electric vehicles, Mitsubishi could turn around their fortunes.
It remains to be seen how this will all play out, but in the end, we’re all rooting for Mitsubishi to rebound from the current mired state they’re in. It may not be as popular as it was, but with a lot of work – and some luck, too – Mitsubishi can still regain their footing in the American market.
Mitsubishi and Toshiba have just announced a new partnership, aimed at developing lithium-ion batteries for vehicles.
Toshiba, a maker of electronic goods, has been making a few inroads into the automotive industry as of late. The most recent piece of news came when the company announced that it would build electric motors for Ford in June.
The company is now in a partnership with Japanese automaker Mitsubishi, according to Bloomberg. Yuki Murata, a spokesperson for Mitsubishi said the automaker has not yet decided if they will actually use the batteries.
The spokesperson also mentioned that if testing goes according to plan, the company will use the batteries. He pointed out that Toshiba has been working on batteries for a year and it will finish up testing before they approach the automaker to create a formal usage agreement.
This new agreement could help Mitsubishi catch Toyota and Honda in the development of electric cars, as the automaker has yet to produce anything that can rival the Prius or theCR-Z.
Has the world turned upside down? The longtime rally inspired 2011Subaru Impreza STI is going to be offered in a diesel. Even madder is the fact that Mitsubishi is going to be offering theLancer Evolution as a hybrid.
Due in 2012, the next-generation STI will feature a better version of the 2.0-liter turbodiesel offered in the current base Impreza in the United Kingdom. The flat-four layout should mean that the STI could retain its superb handling and agility.
That doesn’t mean that the petrol engines are history. Insiders are reporting that Subaru is working on a downsized four-cylinder, that could be based on the 1.5-liter flat four that is currently used in the base Impreza.
Mitsubishi, on the other hand, is working on a diesel hybrid for the next-generation Lancer Evolution. Mitsubishi hopes that the change will save the Evo from tightening economy and emissions regulations.
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